Let’s start with a quick survey:

You bump into a friend who starts telling you about a huge fish they recently caught. You…
a) Pour a drink and insist they tell you every detail
b) Lie, tell them you’re running late for an appointment and get away from them as fast as you can
c) Ask what type of line they used and decide if you had some so you too will catch a big fish
d) Remind them that the species of fish they just killed is a threatened species

It’s cold, wet and windy but a friend calls and says the salmon are biting. You…
a) Grab your beanie and fishing gear and are out the door before you know the location
b) Put another log on the fire, get a book and hang up on your friend blaming a bad signal
c) Decide if you only had wet weather gear you might catch a lot more fish
d) Hope they get frostbite

A mate calls and tells you the fishing and boating expo is on at the showgrounds this weekend. You…
a) Tell your friend you’ve been lined up out the front for the past two days
b) Say you wish you could go but you unexpectedly have to paint your entire house that weekend
c) Can’t wait to buy hundreds of dollars of new gear confident it will improve your angling skills
d) Tell them to stop calling because you can’t be friends with someone who likes such a cruel pastime.

There’s a fair chance you picked the same answer for each question. Fishing is one of those pastimes that people have a firm opinion of. Some love it, some hate it, and many simply don’t understand the fascination.

When it comes to fishing, it seems people fall into one of four types.

Type A – Addicts

These are the fishing tragics. They would miss their own daughter’s wedding if the tide, moon, and wind conditions aligned to create perfect fishing conditions. Preferring torture to revealing the GPS coordinates of their favourite fishing spots, there’s no weather too cold and no morning too early to stop these people from pursuing their passion.

Type As live by my uncle’s advice; ‘Stephen, a man cannot have too many fishing rods’. They have t-shirts, stubby holders and bumper stickers all promoting the fact that ‘the worst day fishing beats the best day working’. Boat owners constantly dream of buying a bigger boat to match the increasing size of their addiction. You’d give them a medal for their dedication were it not going to end up as a sinker at the end of a fishing line.

Type B – Bored witless

Type Bs look at type As and think they need professional help. Bs have no trouble thinking of any number of ways to better use their time. This group readily compares fishing to watching paint dry such is their absolute lack of interest. They fail to see the fun in smelling like bait, being exposed to the elements, and getting seasick.

Bs are quick to point out how much easier and cheaper it is to get your catch from a fish shop. They make this argument even more strongly to boat owners. They regard the phrase ‘recreational fishing’ as an oxymoron since recreation and fishing have absolutely nothing to do with one another.

Type C – Clueless

This group want to be As but never will be. They’re in love with the idea of a rod bending bite and fighting retrieval but reality always falls short of expectation. The big one gets away (if it ever comes at all), knots come untied, hooks end up in fingers, and bait disappears without so much as a nibble.

They love going to tackle shops and buying more gear – sure to be the latest answer to their fishing woes. Despite enthusiastic planning, their fishing trips are always foiled by the weather, having the wrong bait or a bad tide.

Type Cs have one other defining characteristic; their excuse for going on. Ask why they keep trying and you’ll hear they just like relaxing by the water – catching something is a bonus. As a Type B would point out, if this is the case why not save the money spent on rods, reels, line and bait. Invest in a comfortable chair and a good book, sit by the jetty or river, and genuinely enjoy the day.

But no. Cs will come home with no fish, expensive tackle lost on a snag, and a hook damaged finger saying it was a beautiful day even if a force 10 gale blew up. They’ll talk about how much better it would be if they just had a boat.

Hooked on Fishing?

Type D – Despisers

These are unabashed, fishing haters. If you get into a conversation with a D stand back. Such is their disdain for fishing, you’re likely to be showered with spittle as they voice their feelings. If you’re brave enough to ask what it is that they object to, be prepared for a gruesome explanation involving barbed hooks, knives, and suffocation.

They’ll label all fishermen barbaric yobs hell bent on destroying the marine environment. They’ll also blame them for shark attacks and the vandalism of our coastline with boat ramps and marinas. No matter the case you make to a D defending your pastime, they’ll likely not hear it as they won’t tolerate your company long enough to hear what you have to say.

When types collide

I am a classic Type C – top marks for enthusiasm, zero for success –married to a Type B. For us it is the perfect pairing. I exist in a fishless but ever optimistic world of snags and bad tides. Nat has her sympathetic looks and understanding nods down to a fine art as she listens to my latest fishing failure pretending to care.

I’m guessing we all know someone who fits into each group. Next time a friend of brings up fishing, see if you have them pegged!

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